Jan­ice re­turns to Heritage Park

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - CA­TRIN OWEN

Jan­ice Boss feels like she’s re­turn­ing home - to a place where you were once greeted by a gi­ant kiwi and Micky the moa.

The 78-year-old once worked at Heritage Park in Mt Welling­ton and is set to move in to the re­de­vel­oped re­tire­ment vil­lage site with her hus­band Ken.

Heritage Park opened in 1984, at­tract­ing thou­sands of vis­i­tors and lo­cals to get a taste of New Zealand.

Boss started work­ing there as the man­ager of the sou­venir shop and loved ev­ery mo­ment of her time there.

How­ever, the $7.5 mil­lion park closed in 1988 as it was hard to sus­tain and its lo­ca­tion proved dif­fi­cult in at­tract­ing peo­ple out of the city cen­tre.

‘‘When they first opened I spent two months get­ting the shop all ready and ev­ery­thing I had to buy in there had to be New Zealand made,’’ Boss says.

The ‘‘theme park’’ gave vis­i­tors a New Zealand ex­pe­ri­ence in half-a-day with wildlife, na­ture and Sir Howard Mor­rison­trained Maori en­ter­tain­ers.

‘‘You couldn’t find a place in the city with lakes and that size so it was out there,’’ Boss says.

‘‘Some­times at 11 o’clock at night I would be asleep in bed and the phone would ring say­ing a cruise ship tour had come in and wanted to shop.

‘‘They’d have me rush down to the park and open the gift shop.’’

Sadly the park had to shut in 1988 and af­ter its clo­sure, Boss started work­ing in an­other sou- venir shop in the city cen­tre.

Boss and her hus­band have lived in their Eller­slie home since 1959 and were child­hood sweet­hearts, but the time has come to move out of their prop­erty as it is be­com­ing too big.

Con­struc­tion is un­der way on the site where re­tire­ment vil­lage devel­oper Sum­mer­set has re­de­vel­oped the for­mer Heritage Park.

The re­tire­ment vil­lage will in­cor­po­rate some of the orig­i­nal fea­tures, such as the pond and some of the en­clo­sures will still be vis­i­ble.

A to­tal of 62 two and three bed­room vil­las and town­houses will be built as well as 124 in­de­pen­dent liv­ing apart­ments.

The new vil­lage is the fifth Sum­mer­set has re­de­vel­oped in the Auck­land re­gion and the first near the in­ner city with two more vil­lages planned for St Johns and Par­nell.

Boss is look­ing for­ward to mov­ing in but says she will also be sad to leave their gar­den.

Jan­ice Boss worked at the Heritage Park in Mt Welling­ton and is now re­turn­ing to its site to live.

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